The Erg Group is active in coastal refining; integrated downstream; generation and sale of thermoelectric power; steam and gas; and generation of electricity from renewable sources. ERG has two thermoelectric plants with a capacity of 528 MW and 480 MW, including a combined-cycle plant fueled by natural gas and a counter-pressure plant. The electricity market was liberalized in Italy in 1999.
The spot electricity market has three platforms: Day-Ahead Market MGP (energy market), Intra-Day Market MI (energy market) and ancillary Services Market MSD.
ERG developed a strategic project for two years, resulting in our participation in the MGP and MI markets beginning in August 2010 in 2012, and in the MSD market in October 2011. The main business processes for market participation are bidding, operation and settlement. The PI System supported ERG, allowing us to develop solutions covering all processes.
In order to bid, one must have a good model of the plant, know the marginal cost and be able to offer the right volume and price. So, we have constructed a PI AF model of our plant, which is able to calculate the marginal cost for each time unit and select the most profitable asset. The same model is used for the settlement process, permitting performance analysis and model maintenance. Operation process minimizes the difference between real and planned production (energy unbalancing). This is achieved with an advanced control system, but cooperation between the control room operators and the energy management department is very important. So, we have constructed an alarm system with PI WebParts that alerts the whole team if there is energy unbalancing, when there is time to recover. The alarm system is available for PC aqnd BlackBerry, so that everyone has the same information at the same time.
The settlement process measures the plant performance and the operator capacity to reduce unbalancing, and it refines and maintains the plant model. This process has been covered using the same PI AF model, developed for for bidding and constructing reports that permit performance and unbalancing monitoring in the same day of operation. This allows great analysis capacity, since we are able to understand unbalancing causes and correct them as soon as possible. The entire project involved a group of ten engineers and several operators. All of the PI System licenses had been used by ERG for other business applications, so the only investment was in developing software and customizing it. The return on investment has been high.
Giorgio is an electrical engineer who graduated in 1997. Since 2001, he has been working for the Engineering Group in the IT department at ERG. He is currently responsible for IT production application. He manages budget and expenditure, mainly working as a project manager. He has two children and likes going to the cinema, sailing and reading.